twitter is a platform not a news agency

I really wanted to comment on this article from Bluhalo about twitter “beating” news agencies, but sadly no commenting allowed?

Can we please stop saying “twitter beats news agencies with x y z story” its nonsensical, twitter is a PLATFORM, news agencies are a business.

The fact that it “beat” news agencies to report the story, misses the point – do we/did we ever say mobiles “beat” news agencies to the story when the first on the spot report is called in from a mobile? No, of course not.

So why do we feel the need to do this with twitter?

I’m a twitter fan as much as the next agency guy, and yes I’ve used the Hudson river plane photo as a good example of the immediacy and viral power of twitter but it’s another tool that can be used by the news agencies, not a competitor.

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getting updates right

There’s a few questions that always pop up when I speak, I’m going to tackle one of them today following a discussion I took place in over the weekend:

What’s the right mix for status updates (or tweets)?

I’d summarise it as the following:

  • Frequency
  • Relevance
  • Personality
  • Purpose
  • Consistency

All of these are underpinned by the central question you should ask yourself – what do the people following me, who subscribe to these updates expect?

I sometimes see status updates, used for two different things, when really they should use two streams or types of resource.

A good example of this was the event that prompted the discussion, a bar in Bournemouth began posting every record played, as it happened.

  • Some people loved it.
  • Some people hated it so much they sent abusive messages to the bar.
  • Most people were either indifferent, or switched off without saying anything.

Then the bar apologised… and the usual war of words/trolls began, but it was this bit that stood out for me:

A: “If you don’t like the updates unfollow”

B: “I want updates, just not a flood of them!”

A valued follower, taking the time to say “less updates” – I wish I could look back, or measure how many people either unfollowed or hid updates from this bar – it’d be very interesting numbers.

Anyway, the moral for me is – horses for courses – there is a place for the track-listing high frequency type updates, but maybe it wasn’t the same as the general stream – is that true for your business?

Listen to what your customers/users/followers tell you, with an eye on the quiet many – in the case above, the silent majority and the smallest minority that commented negatively were the voices that needed to be heard and not those of the vocal supporters (who interestingly mostly came round to the 2 stream idea, after I proposed it).

Have consistency with how/when/why you tweet/blog/update – occasional changes (like if you’re at a conference) can be accepted, of course.

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LinkedIN status updates are dying

LinkedIN status updates are dying

Allow me to explain.

It used to be that the status updates on LinkedIN were actually quite useful, to see what people were up to, get a snapshot of what they are/were working on… but alas no more.

Given the option to link a twitter account to LinkedIN (good) most people have chosen to send ALL tweets to LinkedIN (bad) rather than use the selective “#in” option which only sends selected tweets to LinkedIN (good).

The result?

The status updates are all RT’s (the twitter version of forwards) and off topic, no where near as useful as it used to be.

To me, it devalues the activity stream quite a bit – which is kind of a pity as the other things on there are still great – Q+A, groups, events…

Have you noticed this too, or is it just my network of people?

Please, if you link twitter and Facebook together use the selective updates function – make sure your messages are “fit for purpose”, does everything you tweet, really need to be on LinkedIN?

Select “edit my profile”, then click on the “edit” link next to your twitter username and select the option highlighted below.

Next time you want to send something to LinkedIn just include “#in” in your message.

Thanking you in advance… Luke.


Luke Williams on LinkedIN – I run 1/2 day LinkedIN courses in London and Bournemouth if you’d like to make more of this great business platform.

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LinkedIn Changes x2

Change #1

LinkedIn is changing its homepage quite a bit – there’s a good write up on Mashable – it’s not live for all users yet, so if you don’t see it, you will soon.

Really though, this post is more about….

Change #2

Since August, I’ve been delivering most of my training under the joint venture I set up with Web Matters (as Web Matters Training) – it’s worked very well for both of us and I’m proud to say we’ve now partnered up with 2e2 to provide a range of Social Media for Business Courses (launching in Feb ’09) based at their London (Victoria) training facility.

In line with this, I felt I should add “Trainer at Web Matters” to my LinkedIn profile, as the 2e2 venture is a partnership with WMT and it would make it clearer for anyone looking at my details via that site.

I’ll post again once the course details are live. Its a great opportunity and if it goes well, we’ll be looking to expand to their other centres around the UK – exciting times.

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training, twitter and seminars

It’s been a busy few weeks here, with lots of training courses we’ve run on and off site and a visit to London for Internet World ’09.

I’ve also found that I’m using twitter more as a micro-blog and using this less, so if you wan’t to keep up to date with articles I think are worth sharing and other useful stuff, make sure you’re following me on twitter.

There are 2 things from all of this travelling and time away from the office I do want to write about:

1) I was asked during one of my sessions if twitter was “just the current thing”. Yes, Twitter may be a fad, micro-blogging / the real-time web / status updating is not.  For this reason, I make sure that any training is focussed on use of the tool and less on the tool itself.  Understanding why the way we use the internet is changing and how to utilise that, is far more valuable than a how-to twitter session.

2) Please remember that presentations are visual. I sat through a couple of talks at Internet World 09 and I have to say I was mostly dis-appointed (only one, on an exhibitor stand was the exception) – One session seemed to be behind the times, mentioning a technology that will “probably become available in the next year or so”… that I already use and in another the presenter just read off his slides (and people left during the talk). I won’t write an essay here on good presentation, but this is a basic point – DON’T READ OFF SLIDES! Slides should be used to re-inforce what you’re talking about, to offer visual interpretation of a concept or to entertain… not to mirror your speech, people read faster than they speak so your audience will finish before you’ve explained it.

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